Friday, December 23, 2011

Um, next time gift me some real estate.....please..


I have to be honest.  I completely forget about gifts from students at Christmas time.

But when they show up I get a really big smile because it's kinda one of those time honored traditions that is a one of the perks of being a teacher.  You know, the apple on the desk kind of thing that shows some appreciation from either the student or the parent of the student (who knows).

Unless you live in Alabama, where if you are an illegal immigrant giving a gift to a teacher, apparently both can be charged with high crimes and executed on New Years Eve.  Yes the season of giving has been toned down in the Heart of Dixie because some in the legislature feel like teachers should be equal to lawmakers; even though teachers have no political power, make less money, have worse health benefits, and don't get the opportunity to sleep around with college aged interns.  The state of Alabama has instead listed the acceptable gifts for the teaching profession


1) Fruit baskets, homemade cookies, etc.
2) Christmas ornaments of little intrinsic value
3) Coffee mugs filled with candy or of a holiday nature.
4) Any item that the teacher may use to assist him/her in performing his or her functions as a teacher, such as notebooks, school supplies, etc.
5) CDs or books of a nominal value, scarves, etc.
Maybe "homemade cookies" needs to be looked at with more scrutiny, because in Mendocino County all homemade products have the potential of making you see monkeys on ceiling.  Christmas ornaments of "little intrinsic value" is interesting.  "Any item ......to assist a teacher in his/her....functions".  Well, I use a laptop more than any other item.  That would really help.  "Books of nominal value" sounds good.  But since this law is supposed to discourage gift cards it means that my Amazon card or Mendocino Book Company gift certificate might be in Jeopardy.  And why the hell are books and scarves in the same category?  I find it funny that teachers and students are being put in the same relationship as politicians and lobbyists.  Ok, I don't find it funny.  Instead I find that gives me more validation on why I will probably never visit Alabama, and why the North won the Civil War.  Any state that makes a law this stupid doesn't deserve its own historical social status.

This year less than five percent of my students left me a gift.  The most gifted items were homemade goods (I have yet to see monkeys) and little nick-nacks.  I have to admit that my favorite was a gift certificate for the local book shop, which clearly shows that I'm a nerdy teacher because I also teach sons and daughters of winemakers.  I'll let you think about that for a second.

I have yet to see an attempt by a student to buy off grades, even during the holiday season.  This isn't to say that I haven't tried.  Being an Economics teacher I regularly remind students that I can be bought for the right price.  Since I would probably be fired and my reputation tarnished for life, and I would need to be comfortable for a long time, I tell students that somewhere in the tens-of-millions range would be appropriate for whatever grade they deem fit.  They scoff at the number and call me unreasonable.  From now on I can say "Hey, you can always move to Alabama."
  
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